Olá! Did you know that Portugal has a lot of beautiful things to see? Places like Porto, Lisbon and the Algarve are some of the best known. But there are also many hidden gems along these Portuguese paths. One of these sites is in Arouca, along the Paiva River. These are the so-called “Passadiços do Paiva” (Paiva Walkways).
The other day, I took myself and Dominik and went over there. To be honest with you, I had been there once a few years ago, but at that time it was too hot and I felt a little bad, so we went back…
I’m weak sometimes, what can I do?
This time, however, I ate well before I went, the weather was nice, the temperature mild, and I was prepared.
“But what are Paiva’s walkways, Mia?” I can already hear you asking.
Continue reading to find out…
Or you can also watch this video on my YouTube channel here:
Passadiços do Paiva – Arouca, Portugal
So, the Paiva Walkways are a series of wooden walkways, where you can walk and enjoy the scenery along the Paiva River. There are several waterfalls, crystal clear waters and tiny beaches to see. There are also many birds, insects and other small animals that pay us visits here and there.
Where to start the Paiva Walkways?
So, when we decided to go there, we left Porto early and went by car. The journey takes about an hour.
We arrived there in the morning, and parked near a river beach. An advanced research had helped us understand that it was better to start in the Areinho area, and not on the other side, in Espiunca, since this is the easiest way to walk. You go up at the beginning, but then it’s more or less always going down.
The river beach is a wonder to behold! Crystal clear waters, bouncing pebbles, and an idyllic landscape.
We grabbed our things and started our walk!
The “worst” part (I say “worst”, because that’s only so for someone who isn’t in great shape, like me) is at the beginning. You go up some very steep stairs. There are a lot of stairs, but I didn’t count how many. All I know is that I’ve lost my breath a few times.
Entering the Passadiços do Paiva
Finally, after a few stops to take a breath, we arrive at the place where the tickets are shown. Please note that tickets have to be purchased in advance, before going, as it is not possible to buy them on site (at least when I went there). I’ll leave the link to the website where you can buy them.
We got there, and showed the tickets. The gentleman told us that now it was almost always going downhill, but that we had to go to the right. Oh, and he also said that the ticket we had bought was only for visiting and walking on the walkways and not the suspension bridge.
In fact, we knew that the suspension bridge existed, but we didn’t know that it was already there. We thought it was further…
The suspension bridge in Arouca
This bridge was built in 2017. It is a pedestrian bridge of 480 meters, which is suspended 150 meters high over the Paiva River and goes from the left bank to the right bank of the river.
The particularity of this bridge is that it is only supported by two cables, and has a transparent floor. This allows you to see the Aguieiras waterfall, and the staircase that forms the Paiva Walkways.
Both the walkways and the pedestrian bridge are part of an area called Garganta do Paiva, which is a very beautiful area, part of the so-called Arouca Geopark.
Continuing our way, we saw lots of beautiful elements, along the eight kilometres that go from Areinho beach to Espiunca.
Almost at the beginning, after taking some pictures, we saw some very nice goats, led by their guard dogs, who came to say hello! I really enjoyed their presence, and I had fun talking to them haha.
Enjoy the River Beaches when the temperatures are high
Halfway along, around kilometre 5, we saw a river beach. We later learnt that this area is called Vau. For hikers, especially those who go there in summer, when temperatures are quite high, this beach is a true paradise, as it allows you to cool off in the water.
As it’s spring, we didn’t jump into the water, but we sat in the shade eating some sandwiches and drinking water we had brought from home.
I advise you to do the same, especially if you come outside the high season of summer, because all the cafes and bars that we saw along the way (which are only two or three) were closed. The only one that was open was the one at the river beach of Areinho, at the beginning. There, there is also the possibility of going to the bathroom, before starting your walk of more than two hours. So take advantage of that!
Gola do Salto – A beautiful place to watch the river (Rio Paiva)
After Vau, we continued to enjoy nature, and we arrived at a place called Gola do Salto, where there is a wooden platform that allows you to observe the river from above. In this area of the river, there is a gap of three or four meters in the bed of the River Paiva, which makes sports lovers like Rafting or Kayaking to come here. In this place there is also an information panel, where you can learn more about this geological phenomenon (the unevenness of the river) and about the sports practiced here.
Getting back with the taxi – Passadiços do Paiva
After enjoying the scenery from there, we continued walking. Finally, we reached the end, tired but happy. There, we had a taxi waiting for us to take us back to Areinho beach.
There are those who walk back there, but for us, eight kilometres was enough. Also because the walk in the opposite direction is even more difficult. I think there are always taxis there waiting for tired hikers, but we called the taxi driver before we started our hike, and then again halfway through to tell him where we were so that he could know what time we would be in Espiunca.
The taxi ride took only about 10 minutes and, in an instant, we were back in our car, ready to head back to Porto. It was a fantastic adventure and I advise everyone who wants to visit, to do so. If you don’t like it when it gets too hot, the best time of the year to visit is in autumn or spring.
I hope you enjoyed this video and that you are even more excited to visit Portugal, in general, and the Arouca area, in particular. By the way, the village of Arouca is also a very beautiful place! So, if you can, go there too and taste the famous Arouca Conventual Pastries.
What else can you do in Portugal?
There are sooooo many things you can do. Here are just some of them, if you are interested:
If you want to learn more about Portugal and the Portuguese Language, join me on my All-In-One Portuguese Course and gain access to high quality materials in Portuguese from Portugal.
See you in the next post!